The Court of Appeal, sitting in Owerri, Thursday, threw out the appeal filed by the Imo State gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, against the election of Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Ihedioha, who was displeased at the way the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal dismissed his petition on technical grounds, prayed the Court of Appeal to reverse it.
Reacting to the verdict, Governor Rochas Okorocha extolled the decision of the Court of Appeal for upholding the ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal and striking out the appeal also for lack of merit.
“By doing that, the Appeal Court had equally justified my stiff confidence in the ability and readiness of the Judiciary to uphold justice and also respect the popular and lawful actions of the people over who would govern them at any given time”, Okorocha said.
According to the Governor, he had always exercised reasonable regard for Chief Ihedioha and would stop at nothing to commend his effort and apparent desire to govern the state, which he is entitled to, as a bonafide son of the state.
Okorocha, who said Ihedioha’s legal actions were all designed to strengthen the nation’s democracy, added that “having lost at the Election Petition Tribunal and having also lost at the Appeal Court, I have no option than to sincerely appeal to Hon. Ihedioha to allow the litigations over the governorship election of 2015 to stop at this level in the interest of the state and her people.”
In his response to the verdict, the petitioner, Chief Ihedioha, appealed to his supporters to remain calm, disclosing that he has already instructed his counsel to approach the Supreme Court over the issue.
According to him, justice would be served on the merit of his matter as he is convinced that he scored the highest lawful votes cast during the governorship elections and should have rather been declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Continuing, Ihedioha said he was not unaware of the shock and disappointment that have engulfed the entire state, because of the unfortunate ruling, stressing that he has noted the hardship, hunger and hopelessness the people of the state have been subjected to just to satisfy the yearnings of Governor Okorocha.